People with Alzheimer’s and dementia can become frustrated when they are unstimulated which can lead to mood swings and condition deterioration. This is especially apparent in 2020 as people cannot go out and enjoy the activities they are used to doing such as swimming, attending community events, support groups and seeing family members. Therefore, it is important to offer alternatives in their own home to keep them stimulated and entertained.
Ask Them Questions In An 'Interview'
One activity that can help with stimulation is 'interviewing' them about their life. Long-term memories remain in the brain longer than short-term memories. This is because long-term memories are already firmly established in one’s memory compared to short-term memories. Therefore, asking questions about their childhood, family, past holidays, and other memories from their youth will get a better response than asking what they did yesterday for example. Another advantage to asking about memories from their youth is that memories are tied to emotions. Asking questions about memories that hold positive emotions can help them relive those emotions making for a pleasurable experience for everyone involved. Asking these questions can also help foster emotional connections between the interviewer and interviewee. If throughout the interview, the interviewee loses their train of thought, gently remind them of the topic of conversation and where they were at in their story.
Listen To Music
Another activity that is great for stimulation is listening to their favourite music. If you do not know what their favourite song or genre of music is, you could ask in the interview activity above. If they cannot remember their favourite music, play some tunes that were popular when they were young. Playing music from someones youth can help bring up emotions tied to those songs. Music can also be a good way to encourage someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia to do some light exercise, depending how mobile they are. If the weather is nice, you can take a speaker outside and play their favourite music in the sun and dance around together. If they do not have a lot of mobility, then you can have them sway from side to side in an armchair or dance with their arms.
Enjoy Arts & Crafts
For people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, it is important that they have an outlet to explore their self-expression. This can be done through arts and crafts such as painting, pottery, scrapbooking, photography and more. Ask which medium of arts and crafts interests them the most as it is important that they express themselves in a way they feel comfortable with. Creative activities can allow people with Alzheimer’s or dementia to express exactly who they are without fear of being judged as art is about expressing externally what one feels internally. This means it can also be a good way to help people process thoughts and emotions.
If you try any of these activities with your loved one or client, let us know! We love receiving pictures and videos from you, especially if there is fun involved. Please send any videos or pictures for us to feature on social media to firstname.lastname@example.org